An Oklahoma judge is under fire after being caught doing what many people do at their jobs from time to time—scrolling social media instead of working.
The only problem is, she was doing it in the middle of a harrowing murder trial.
Lincoln County, Oklahoma District Judge Traci Soderstrom is now under an ethics investigation after repeatedly getting caught scrolling Facebook and sending texts instead of paying attention the trial over which she was presiding.
And it wasn't just a one-time mistake, either. Soderstrom was observed scrolling during multiple stages of the trial, including during jury selection, opening statements and testimony.
The trial centered on Khristian Tyler Martzall—accused of first-degree murder for beating two-year-old Braxton Danker to death—who was eventually convicted of second-degree manslaughter.
Cameras were placed in the courtroom for security purposes due to the serious nature of the accusations against Martzall. They ended up blowing Soderstrom's cover after District Attorney Adam Panter viewed the footage and then sent it to the Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints following a tip from a member of the courthouse staff.
He says he found Soderstrom "spent hours of the trial" fiddling around on her phone, including searching for GIFs at one point.
Panter told The Oklahoman newspaper:
“It is both shocking and disappointing. Jurors are banned from using cellphones in the courtroom during trials because we expect them to give their full time and attention to the evidence being presented."
"I would expect and hope the court would hold itself to the same standard required of the jurors, regardless of the type of case."
On social media, the news about Soderstrom's phone usage during the trial sparked outrage and calls for her recall.
Soderstrom is only in her first term as a District Judge.
She was elected last November and began her term in January, which expires in 2027. She reportedly repositioned the camera above her bench so her activities cannot be captured.